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Does Milk Break a Fast? Find Out the Truth Here
Intermittent Fasting

Does Milk Break a Fast? Find Out the Truth Here

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 8
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4 min

There is a lot of confusion about whether milk breaks a fast. Should you drink milk during fasts or not? What’s the best time to drink milk? Get answers to all your questions in this article.

Does milk break a fast
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Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight, regulate blood sugar and improve health by promoting healthy metabolism and stimulating fat burning. However, whatever beverage you drink when fasting impacts your fasting and the benefits you get from it.

Intermittent fasting involves restricting your calorie intake for a lengthy period of time. Mostly, this fasting period ranges between 8–40 fasting hours. This allows the body to burn fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates, which improves your health.

While some forms of intermittent fasting completely exclude any amounts of calorie intake, others, such as dirty fasting, allow you to have some calories. 

Depending on your goal, your approach may vary. For instance, if your objective for fasting is to achieve weight loss, you may have a small number of calories to break the fast and still maintain your goal.

Whether you’re experienced or new to intermittent fasting, knowing what can end intermittent fasting is essential if you want to get the most out of it. 

To learn more about milk and fasting, this article delves into the details to explain whether or not milk breaks a fast, whether you can drink milk with coffee when fasting, and much more.

Does Milk Break a Fast?

The answer is yes. Milk or milk alternatives break a fast like any other caloric food, even when you drink a small amount. It contains natural sugar, carbohydrates, and calories that can easily trigger the release of insulin that may increase hunger causing you to break the fast.

However, intermittent fasting has evolved over time with various alterations. For instance, if you are practicing open intermittent fasting, you can add a splash of unsweetened almond milk to your cup of coffee without compromising the perks of fasting.

Consuming milk will probably break your fast if you practice moderate or clean intermittent fasting. Moderate intermittent fasting allows consumption of non-caloric beverages only since they do not end the fast, and you still reap all the perks of fasting, including autophagy.

Can You Drink Coffee With Milk During Fasting?

If you’re practicing a clean fast, you are not allowed to drink coffee with milk because it contains calories and carbs. And technically, even the smallest amount of calories can break your fast.

However, if you are sticking to a dirty fast, you can drink coffee with a splash of milk. Dirty fasting is a type of fasting where you are allowed to consume some calories during your fasting window.

Although you can drink milk with coffee or a caloric beverage during dirty fasting, keep carbohydrate intake at a lower rate. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or MCT oil to your coffee. 

 Can You Drink Plant-Based Milk During Your Fast?

Technically no, unless you are following a dirty fasting regimen.

When doing dirty fasting, you can use plant-based milk, but not all of them are good. This is because plant-based milk varies in the number of calories and sugar content. Some contain high calories and sugar, while others have a minimal amount.

When choosing plant-based milk to mix with your coffee, choose the one with the least calories and sugar. Below is the breakdown of calories and sugar in the various plant-based milk.

We compared milk vs. plant-based milk. Take a look at the results:

Milk and milk alternatives comparison per 100g

CaloriesCarbsSugarProtein
Coconut milk31kcal2.92g2.5g0.21g
Whole milk60kcal4.67g4.81g3.28g
Cashew milk79kcal5.73g2.64g2.2g
Soy milk43kcal4.92g3.65g2.6g
Almond milk (unsweetened)15kcal1.31g0.81g0.4g
Oat milk (unsweetened)48kcal5.1g2.32g0.8g

Source: FoodData Central

What Can You Drink While Fasting? 5 Options to Try Out

Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss and gets your body in shape. Additionally, it boosts your immune system, lowers blood sugar, increases metabolic rate, improves heart and brain health, and lowers cancer risk. Here are some of the best beverages that you can have while fasting.

#1 Black coffee

Black coffee is an excellent way to stay hydrated and lose weight during fasting hours. Studies show that caffeine supports ketosis and decreases insulin sensitivity. 

Coffee also suppresses your appetite, which may be the move you need to stick to your fasting to enhance weight loss. However, it may marginally diminish autophagy.

When drinking coffee, consider the amount. Taking more caffeine than the advised 400mg daily may negatively affect your health.

#2 Sparkling water

If you need something refreshing during fasting, go for sparkling water. This beverage has zero calories and sugar making it suitable for your fast. It helps you feel full and stay hydrated throughout the day.

The best way to enjoy sparkling water during your day’s fast is by adding some fresh fruits, lemon, or mint. You can also add fruit juice or lemon juice to make it taste better, but ensure you do not add too much. Excessive consumption of lemon juice can make your stomach acidic and cause diarrhea or other stomach-related problems.

#3 Tea

Tea can be an excellent way to stay energized during your fasting hours. It makes you feel energetic and alert. When looking for tea, choose plain tea without added sugar or artificial flavors.

Some unsweetened teas you can choose from include:

  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Black tea
  • Rooibos tea
  • Chamomile tea

 #4 Bone broth

Broth bone is a great option when fasting. It is easy to digest and replenish electrolytes lost during fasting from the body. Bone broth has minimal calories and carbs but has proteins that break the fast and increase ketosis and autophagy.

Bone broth also contains gelatine and glutamine amino acid, which can help with energy, gut health, and rebalance. Besides, bone broth helps alleviate hunger and provides a feeling of fullness.

#5 Water with apple cider vinegar

Diluted apple cider vinegar is one of the healthiest drinks during the fasting window. This drink has almost no carbs and calories, making it less likely to break your fast unless you take it in large amounts, which might be unsafe. For instance, due to its high acidity, excessive consumption of diluted apple cider vinegar can damage teeth, harm the throat, and upset the stomach.

Water with apple cider vinegar helps to fight hunger and cravings. In addition, studies show that apple cider vinegar increases fullness, promotes weight loss, and reduces blood sugar levels.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Milk is a source of calcium, protein, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Based on your fasting strategy and your eating regimen, adding a small amount of milk to your cup of coffee or tea won’t end your fast nor limit the benefits you’ve reaped during your fasting period.

Even though milk has calories, you can still get the benefits if you’re conscious about the amount of milk you drink.

Whether your objective is losing weight, promoting fat burn, or controlling your blood sugar, be careful about drinking milk and other caloric beverages when fasting. If it’s possible,  avoid all calories, but if you must have it, there are healthier options.

Alternatives that have calories but offer many health benefits of intermittent fasting without breaking a fast include coffee, tea, plant-based milk, ACV water, and bone broth.

Apart from milk and other beverages with more calories, avoid zero-calorie sweeteners and artificial sweeteners. Their taste of sweetness affects GLP-1 receptors on the tongue, triggering insulin response by increasing its production, which can cause hunger pangs and negatively affect fasting.

Conclusion

Milk is a nutritious drink, but it’s not advisable to drink it when intermittent fasting. Milk might interrupt your fast by prompting your insulin. 

Taking milk with your cup of tea or coffee does not necessarily break a fast. Depending on your intermittent fasting method, you can have a small amount of milk and still get the most from fasting.

Whether your objective is losing weight or cleaning out dead cells from your body to regenerate new ones, drinking milk, or not during a fast depends entirely on you and your need for a fasting diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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